2017 RANKING & REVIEW
STOP RANKING BEST SOLAR COMPANIES


2017 Guide to Hiring the Best Solar Energy Companies

Creating your own sustainable source of solar energy is an attractive concept for many consumers today. It creates a healthier environment with a lower bill from the local utility company each month. With so many people living paycheck to paycheck, the monthly savings alone can create a significant impact in a monthly budget.

But what do you do when you lack the skill or time to install your own solar panels?

In today’s market, there has been a sharp increase in the number of solar power companies to choose from. These solar energy companies can measure your home, taking into account your current electricity usage and household size, to provide you with custom quotes.

Best Solar Energy & Solar Power Companies

Award Emblem: Best Solar Energy & Solar Power Companies

Understanding where each solar power company shines is critical to choosing a company that supports your needs. Whether you’re interested in free estimates, a flexible financing program or something else, our ranking of the best solar companies will clear up your questions.

If you’ve been investigating the possibility of hiring solar power companies to install solar panels on your home, your questions should be resolved in the details below. Find out which solar companies made our ranking of the best solar energy companies available for your solar power needs.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Solar Companies

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the solar power names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that solar power company):


Top 6 Best Solar Companies | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Solar Energy Companies

Estimates

Service Areas

Complete Solar

Free

CA, MA, NJ, UT

RGS Energy

Free online or in-home estimate

CA, CO, CT, MA, MO, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT, HI

Solar City

Free

AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, HI, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA

Sunpower

Free, online calculator

Global

Sunrun

Free

AZ, CA, CO, CT, HI, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NY, OR, PA, SC

Vivnt Solar

Free

AZ, CA, CT, FL, HI, MA, MD, NJ, NM, NY, PA, SC, TX, UT

Table: Top 6 Best Solar Companies | Above list is sorted alphabetically



Comparing Solar Energy Companies

When you are contemplating hiring a solar power company, you need to keep in mind that not all solar energy companies are created equal. In order to decide which company is right for you, the overall cost might not be as big of a factor as other things.

Keep in mind these tips and tricks for comparing solar energy companies to one another:

  • Equipment: Ask detailed questions regarding what type of solar panels their company typically uses and do your own research. A company that charges more money may be using better equipment than your lowest estimate. They should be able to answer any questions you have regarding their experience with that particular product and brand.
  • Kilowatts: Not all solar energy companies will have the same means and formula for calculating how much energy your home needs to generate. Ask how many kilowatts these solar power companies are planning to install to get a feel for how they are charging. The lowest bid could also mean the lowest kilowatts and fewest solar panel solutions and not enough energy for you and your family.
  • Estimate cost: Consider what the upfront cost is for them to measure and estimate your custom solar solutions. Many of the best solar companies allow you to take advantage of a free consultation to determine if it’s the right fit for you.

Any other questions that come to mind for you should be easily answered by any solar power companies that come to your door. Don’t be shy about asking questions regarding the product or the financing programs available.

With an investment as significant as solar powering your home, you should be certain that you receive everything you believe you will. Representatives who are hesitant to answer questions may not be a great fit for you, whether because they lack experience or because the answers are unfavorable. Consider the customer service you receive as well as the equipment and installation.

Solar Companies

Image Source: Pixabay



AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology

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Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.


Detailed Review – Top Ranking Solar Companies

Below, please find the detailed review of each company on our list of solar power companies. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these top solar energy companies to score so highly in our selection ranking.

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Complete Solar Review


Complete Solar is centered on the idea of allowing consumers to choose how much energy they use and where that energy should come from. One of the top solar energy companies around, they can measure and outfit your house with a custom solar system based on your square footage, needs, and household size.

All systems are guaranteed to last for at least 25 years with their warranties.

Although their online map primarily shows installed systems throughout the state of California, Complete Solar is undergoing significant growth and expansion. According to a company representative, Complete Solar has recently begun actively operating in New Jersey.

Sales and installation operations have also begun in Massachusetts and Utah, expanding the company's reach to the West and East coasts. They anticipate that the new solar installations in these states will soon be reflected on their map. 

Timeframe

How long will it take for this solar energy company to come out to your home? Well, first they need to evaluate whether or not your home is a good candidate for solar panels. This is common among solar power companies, as not every house is situated in an area where this addition would be beneficial to the overall home.

From the time they come out to evaluate your home for a custom solar system, they have a turnaround time that qualifies them as one of the best solar energy companies. A new install takes only a few weeks to complete from start to finish. The length of time it takes from the date of your estimate until the date of your installation will vary depending on your area and teams.



RGS Energy Review


RGS Energy, a Real Goods Solar Company, was founded close to forty years ago with the intent to become one of the best solar companies in the market. To date, they’ve installed more than a quarter million systems across the United States.

Solar Energy Companies

Image Source: RSG Energy

Like many of the other solar power companies included in our ranking, RGS Energy does not service the whole United States. Instead, it focuses its energy throughout just a handful of states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Hawaii. 

When you use their solar power companies, RGS Energy can offer a couple of options in terms of switching to solar energy. You can finance a system, which essentially allows you to lease the equipment and pay one fixed electric rate over the next twenty years.

If you have the cash or can qualify for their other financing program, you can purchase systems from their solar power companies upfront. This gives you the most savings and the lowest rates over time. Most of these systems will be warrantied for 25 years.

Timeframe

To determine if your home is a good fit for solar energy, you can opt for a solar quote either online or in-home. All you need to do is fill out the application form with your basic information and let one of their customer service representatives contact you with the details.

One of the major bonuses that makes this one of the best solar energy companies is the cost of the estimate: free. You can determine whether RGS Energy is a good fit for your home and family at no cost to you.

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Solar City Review


Designed for both residential and commercial applications, Solar City is one of the best solar companies in the country. Since their inception, they have installed solar panels on more than 300,000 homes.

With a broader customer range than many solar companies, Solar City is currently located in 22 states and the Washington, D.C. area. Compared to solar companies such as Complete Solar that are only in one state, this is a significantly larger operation.

One of the advantages that qualifies this as one of the best solar companies is their ability to install a Powerwall backup. For an additional fee each month, you gain access to the Powerwall generator that can power your home through any sort of outage you encounter. It can power up to 5kW if the grid goes down and can accommodate even more with the addition of extra batteries.

The quality of their materials also makes them a top candidate among solar energy companies. They claim that testing shows their solar panels outperform others in the industry by ten years.

Payment

Solar City features a number of payment options to make solar energy companies easily accessible for everyone. If you want to own your system, you can choose to apply for a loan or purchase it outright. Both of these will qualify you for tax credits and give you ownership over your system.

Leasing the system through Solar City comes with a low, fixed-rate payment to cover the cost of the electricity that is generated. You can also use partial prepay options to do a similar leasing situation. However, you will not own the system at the end of the twenty years as you do through the loan or outright payment.

Quotes from this solar power company is free, as they should be from one of the best solar companies.



Sunpower Review


Sunpower has been one of the leading solar energy companies for more than three decades. Based out of California, this company spans around the world to provide solar panel solutions to homeowners and businesses alike.

They are so confident in their products and approaches that they offer a 25-year warranty on both products and performance. This thorough warranty covers the cost of removing bad panels and shipping and installing new ones. Their website boasts that panels could have a lifespan of more than forty years.

Solar Power Companies

Image Source: Sunpower

When it comes to purchasing your system, you have three options: lease, loan, or purchase.

  • Lease: Sunpower ultimately owns your system, which includes covering the cost of maintenance and repair. You are essentially renting the system from the solar energy company and paying a reduced electric bill in exchange.
  • Loan: For up to 25 years, you can make regular payments to the solar energy company to pay off your system. You will still qualify for tax credits with this system.
  • Purchase: Pay for the system outright (in cash or with a home equity loan) to make your system your own and get the most benefit from solar power.

Timeframe

It will require the work of a trained professional to complete a free consultation. Each system is designed uniquely for your home. Estimates are complete with a detailed breakdown of projected savings, and they lay out details regarding your financing options.

Using their online calculator, you can even get an estimate of your potential savings based on your address, shade amount, and current electricity bill. This is a feature that continues to place them as one of the best solar companies. You can estimate your savings without even reaching out to a customer service department.

Local installers are trained and manage their own solar power companies in order to outfit your home with Sunpower solar panels. The company boasts that it will handle filing your permitting and paperwork to get your system inspected and ready to switch to solar energy.

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Sunrun Review


Sunrun is one of the many top solar companies that specializes in providing custom solutions to your solar energy needs. They’ve been around for close to two decades, and you’ll love the protection offered by their Sunrun Lifetime Support.

Working hard to expand into new territories, Sunrun is currently servicing 14 of the 50 states and planning on growing. To date, they are including areas such as Arizona, California, Maryland, Hawaii, Massachussetts, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. For a full list of areas their solar company covers, see their map.

Sunrun is another of the top solar energy companies that features flexible payment and leasing options. They feature four different selections, helping you to get started quickly and easily. With the monthly and prepaid plans, you lock in one low electric rate paid either on a monthly basis or all up front, as well as a 10-year roof warranty.

The alternative is to purchase the system outright or with financing. This allows you to own your system and qualify for tax credits associated with using solar companies.

Warranty

One of the biggest draws of Sunrun’s solar panel systems is the guarantee that accompanies them. Once you select a custom solar solution, you receive the Sunrun Lifetime Support. This means that if something breaks, the solar energy company will fix it for free.

With their production promise, they will also refund your money if your panels underperform. If they aren’t generating as much electricity as was promised, their solar companies will help you to make up the difference.

Even better, your warranty isn’t limited just to your ownership of the home. If you plan on selling in a few years, this guarantee will transfer to the new homeowners. It makes a great selling point that could serve to increase the value of your home.

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Vivint Solar Review


Vivint Solar has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and a high consumer rating through the Consumer Affairs office. Still relatively new to the scene of solar companies (founded in 2011), Vivint Solar provides solar energy, installation, and maintenance to give you the best collection of services among solar companies.

Their solar energy company doesn’t cover the whole United States, but they do have an impressive start. Currently, they are in 14 states, including many that are also serviced by the other best solar companies. These include:

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • South Carolina
  • Pennsylvania

Similar to many of the other solar power companies, they offer the same four payment options: leases, prepaid leases, purchases, or loans. You can opt to allow Vivint Solar to own your system while you pay monthly or upfront for a reduced electricity cost. For consumers who have the cash or the credit to obtain a loan, they can own their system outright from the beginning.

Timeframe

Promising to help you save up to 40% on your current electric bill, Vivint Solar provides free estimates to homeowners. They take a detailed look at your needs and then evaluate how they can best design a system from one of the solar power companies. Permits and paperwork are taken care of by customer service representatives with the local solar companies.

Installation requires just one day, with an estimated timeframe between four and eight hours. Then it’s time for you to learn how to use your system effectively.

Compared to some of the other best solar companies that allow for days, weeks, or months for installation, Vivint Solar is very efficient and quick. You can have your solar panels installed in no time at all with their system.


Conclusion—Top 6 Best Solar Companies

Depending on the area you live in and your unique expectations for solar companies, you’re likely to find one brand that meets your needs better than another. These are some of the top solar companies in the industry today, and they each offer a solid business model to choose from.

Whether you need flexible payment options, free estimates and consultations, or a quick installation, these top solar companies have plenty to offer.

If you’re ready to make the switch from expensive electric bills from the local utility company to more sustainable options for other solar power companies, these are a good place to start. Solar energy companies can make your home more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

Don’t wait another day to begin looking into the potential cost savings from solar power companies. These options will provide you with a thorough starting point to begin saving money on the cost of homeownership.



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Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

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